What are you up to this weekend?
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I'm excited to have an entire day to spend in the kitchen. I have a stack of recipes I'm going to be testing, along with two big tubs of the coolest Vintage and Retro bakeware; plates, bowls, you name it.
All week long, I've had to say, “Sweetie, the day was busy, and I didn't make anything new for dinner.” So instead of something from the freezer or one of our quick and easy go-tos, it'll be so nice to light a few candles, turn on some jazz, and catch up over something hot and bubbly
straight out of the oven
The bakeware? A fun find from the week: the best store for all things Vintage and Retro. With a couple of hours to kill before my photography class, I found myself wandering through antique stores in Des Moines' Valley Junction.
As my wish stack grew taller, it became clear he'd found a kindred spirit.
And thus began the most fascinating of lessons on the history of dishware, designers, what makes a piece valuable, colors and patterns that date an era, odd treasures like Vaseline Glass, and vintage styles like Danish Modern.
He bid me farewell a couple of hours later; in my arms, I carried tubs filled with treasures.
“Take them home; try them out. Return what you don't want, and pay for only what you love.”
“Are you sure? I mean, you don't know me.”
“Something tells me it'll be ok.”
The first weekend of November begs a recipe for chili.
(For those who follow The Veggies, a recipe, and story from the archives. Originally posted in December of 2013, as a contribution to our Holiday Tradition's Food Swap. It's my favorite)
The theme of last weekend's food swap
Webster defines tradition as
The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice
For some swappers, this was easy
“My Grandma always makes a, b, and c when we go to her house on Christmas day. I have her recipe, but somehow it just never tastes quite as good as hers.”
I didn't have a go-to at the ready; my family less than traditional in so many ways. In fact, I've come to embrace my truth that life's roads will be outside the norm
My husband and I are establishing new traditions this year. What do we want, as opposed to, this is just what we do.
One afternoon I passed by the calendar. There are a several party invitations coming up, with two on Christmas Eve night.
“We'll have a pot of chili on the stove. Stop by, have a bowl, and let us enjoy your company.”
I couldn't resist, because isn't that really what it's all about? Whether you're in a family that has long-established roots and traditions, new people may join, some may leave, but the traditions always live on
Your family is just getting started; new traditions are being formed
Your family at the holidays is a wonderful group of friends
Any combination of the above
To me, chili begs my favorite notion
“Come. Whoever you are, whatever your life situation, and let us enjoy your company.”
ps: This has been my favorite chili recipe for as long as I can remember. It isn't fancy, but very much full of flavor, incredibly thick and hearty. Whatever you do, don't leave out the cornflour at the end. It really adds to its character
~ Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Chili (My Favorite)
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 (15 oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes (diced or crushed depending on the chunkiness level you like)
- 2 Tbsp chili powder (heat of your choice)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
- heavy pinch freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup masa harina (corn flour, found in the Mexican food section of many supermarkets)
- 2 (15 oz) cans chili beans, in chili sauce
- Shredded Cheddar, for serving
- Chopped onions, for serving
- Fritos, for serving
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and chopped onions. Sauté 3-5 minutes, until the onions are beginning to soften.
- Add the ground beef and garlic and continue to cook until the meat is browned. Drain the excess fat.
- Add the tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, chili beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne.
- Stir well, cover, and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If the chili becomes overly dry, add ½ cup water at a time, as needed.
- After an hour, combine the cornflour with ½ cup water. Add the masa mixture to the chili.
- Stir together well, taste, and adjust the seasonings.
- Add more masa paste and /or water until the chili is to your preferred consistency
- Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped onions, and Fritos